Discover the difference between consciousness and awareness

Posted on by in Psychology, Spirituality




There are two aspects to being able to live successfully in the world. First, is the aspect of being able to develop an attitude of awareness, and the second is being able to focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want. In this post, we’re going to explore the topic of awareness. What it is, what are the benefits of it and then, of course, how you can start developing it in your life.

Consciousness and Awareness

I like to split the world up into two different segments. First of all, there’s awareness and then there’s consciousness.

What is consciousness?

Consciousness is anything that occurs in the world of time and space. Therefore, it’s anything that has a beginning point and an end point. Basically, everything you observe obviously fits into this because anything you observe is going to pass away. So, that’s any thought, any emotion, any event.

What is Awareness?

And then on the other aspect, there’s awareness. And awareness is the part that is the unchangeable behind the changing. It’s the part that is able to see all the change that passes in front of it, but it is not changed by anything that seems to come and go.

How does awareness get lost?

Screen Shot 2013 08 10 at 2.44.55 PM 300x169 Discover the difference between consciousness and awarenessNow, during our upbringing, what happens is that this awareness which we originally are, which you can see in a child’s eyes, a baby’s eyes, that they are just aware, it starts becoming identified with that what is changing and starts identifying with the different labels that it is told in society. Obviously, it’s an important part of upbringing, because you have to be able to fit in society. However, what happens is that awareness gets lost in its conditioning. It gets lost in being a boy. It gets lost in being part of a family. It gets lost in being part of a nation, and then it becomes identified with it. And once it becomes identified with one thing, it obviously isn’t the other thing, and therefore this conflict arises, because there’s a sense of separation, and alienation from the rest of the world.

Through all the different parables that have been told by the Masters, it’s about getting lost and then coming back. Much like the parable of the prodigal son. He lives in abundance in his father’s kingdom, and then he goes off and he gets lost and he ends up eating with the pigs [00:02:00]. And then he comes back and he gets found, and he gets welcomed home.

And this is the same journey that everybody’s on. We each go from a state of living in abundance, being aware. Not being aware that we can be hurt or harmed or taking anything personally, and then we go off and we go through the conditioning process, and we become identified with this and that. We have to make a living and we think we’re separate from the rest of the world, and then we have an awakening experience, or you hear something that sparks an interest, and then we reclaim our steps back to being this awareness, but it is a higher awareness because now we have the awareness of being able to be living in the world, but we also know that we have this aspect that is outside of it.

If we get lost in this consciousness for too long, the world just becomes draining and we’re always going round and round in circles trying to find happiness, but never being able to find it because we are always living in scarcity, because we are always identified with something that we’re not.

The big process now is to be able to remember who we are. To give you a few analogies of being able to help this:

The Cloud and the Sky:

You can think the sky and then there are the clouds that come passing through it. The sky is obviously never changed, but the clouds that come under it, and once they pass through, they’ve gone, and then the next one’s coming and it always is just free flowing.

The problem in the human life is that we start grabbing onto different clouds and we become identified with them, and we think that that’s our identity. And, then it becomes hard to change because if we think we are one thing and then we want to change, we have resistance to do it because we think we’re going to lose ourselves if we change too much.

However, if you can get back to being the awareness behind it, the sky behind it, you realize that everything down there is just different bundles of energy, that are coming and going. This is what most self-help is all about: is being able to change the different things. To change the cloud formations; however, that can never lead to happiness because it is all based on the scarcity – the thing you want to change is going to obviously collapse and crumble in time, and it’s going to leave with suffering at the end of the day.

All the world’s a stage:

So, to help develop this ability to be the awareness itself, instead of being lost in consciousness, is to think about life much like a play, and that’s what life does become when you start identifying more with the awareness, because you start to realize that all of these things that are coming and going are just temporary forms, and that to identify with one is to identify with suffering, because you are always going to worry about that thing passing on and you have to start defending yourself.

So, if you start thinking about life much like a play, you can start stepping outside of it and realize that the actor that appears to be you down on the stage, has certain roles to play but, at the same time, you can step back and realize that it is just an act. You are just playing a role within the world. And the better you get at this, the more you can start having fun with the play that you seem to be playing out.

Not this not this

Throughout the ages, there have been different teachers that have told you to do different things, to be able to gain this awareness. In Eastern philosophy, there was being able to negate anything that appears to arise in consciousness. So, that’s anything that appears to arise within the world of change and you would say, “Not this, not that.” So, whatever arises, if you think, “I am a man,” then you negate that, and you keep negating everything that comes up until you realize that you can’t be defined. And, once you can’t be defined, you’re free of everything because then nothing in the world can actually affect you. That you can’t take nothing personally, that nothing can be lost.

Learn meditation

So, this all starts with the witness posture, and the best way to do that is to develop meditation. You can get access to my free Mastering Meditation course that takes you through the four most powerful techniques of meditation. So, if you click here you can get started. If there’s any questions or you have different ideas about what I’ve talked about today, please leave them in the comments below.


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